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Rab Windveil Jacket Review

Rab Windveil
Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $125 List | $124.95 at MooseJaw
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Superior permanent DWR, very breathable, great fitting stretch fabric, packs small and light.
Cons:  Elastic wrist enclosures a little loose, stuff pocket made of vulnerable mesh.
Bottom line:  The Best Overall Wind Breaker and the one we would recommend nine times out of 10.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Rab

Our Verdict

The Rab Windveil Jacket is our Editor's Choice Award winner as the Best Overall Wind Breaker because it was the highest scorer in our comparative testing and is a perfect choice for so many different outdoor activities. The Windveil Jacket is among the jackets we would recommend first whether we are going running, climbing, mountain biking, hiking, or peak bagging. In fact, it is hard to think of an activity that it is not well suited to. We found it to be among the best when it came to breathability, and it also included mesh lined pockets and a chest snap for moving with the zipper open, features that set it apart from the competition when considering venting. What is really amazing about this jacket is its permanent durable water resistant qualities that come not from coating the outside of the fabric, but rather using Pertex Microlight fabric, which is naturally DWR. In the end it was the highest scorer in the review. Truly, compared to the competition, there is virtually nothing to complain about.

Product Update
Rab introduced new colors for the Windveil this season! This favorite jacket remained otherwise unchanged.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Wind Jacket Review


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Andy Wellman

Last Updated:
Thursday
October 20, 2016

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The Windveil Jacket by Rab has an optimal set of features and design characteristics that had it ranked at or near the top in every category that we rated in this review. While it was merely average at wind resistance compared to the competition, it still does a superb job blocking the wind. Its stretchy fabric weave both fits great, with a sleekness that is ideal for high-energy activities, and also leaves enough room for a thin warmth layer underneath. Not only does water vapor transfer through the fabric itself, but opening the front zipper all the way and utilizing the mesh-lined pockets will help air you out should you get too hot. We liked the front chest button that holds the jacket together should you need to fully unzip, as well as the hood stow buckle that can be manipulated with the jacket on. Both of these features are found on very few other jackets we tested. And as we mentioned above, the Pertex DWR fabric not only works better than any other DWR coating we tested, but can never wear off, because there is no coating. All in all, this was clearly the best jacket out of the 10, which is why we rated it so highly and gave it our top award.

Performance Comparison


The Rab Windveil was our Editors' Choice Award winner for best overall wind breaker. We loved playing  I mean testing  in it. Here we are checking out the fall colors of the turning aspens  while also investigating the terrain features of an old gold mine on Red Mountain Pass  San Juan Mountains.
The Rab Windveil was our Editors' Choice Award winner for best overall wind breaker. We loved playing, I mean testing, in it. Here we are checking out the fall colors of the turning aspens, while also investigating the terrain features of an old gold mine on Red Mountain Pass, San Juan Mountains.

Wind Resistance


Rab claims that their Pertex Microlight fabric "cuts virtually all wind while allowing moisture to pass through." After months of testing, we would have to agree with that statement. In fact, Rab's ability to design this jacket to be so highly wind resistant and breathable is one of the reasons it ranks at the top of our chart. We found that air passed through the lightweight, stretchy fabric at about the same rate as the Outdoor Research Tantrum or the Patagonia Houdini, slightly more so than the top tier of jackets when it came to wind resistance. When we took it to the top of the mountain to compare head-to-head in a cold wind, it held out the wind better than most, but still not as well as the Marmot Ether DriClime. We awarded seven out of a possible 10 points.

The hood on the Windveil has no tightening cinch straps like some other hoods  but features a small face sized opening surrounded by elastic. We feel this one is tighter and more protective than other hoods we tested that also employ only elastic.
The hood on the Windveil has no tightening cinch straps like some other hoods, but features a small face sized opening surrounded by elastic. We feel this one is tighter and more protective than other hoods we tested that also employ only elastic.

Breathability and Venting


We thought the Windveil Jacket was the single most breathable and ventable wind jacket in this review, making it a perfect choice for any sort of high energy activity that could lead to profuse sweating. The Pertex fabric taken by itself was among the most breathable that we tested, on par with that of the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody and the Sierra Designs Exhale Windshell. However, it has far better venting features than those two jackets, bumping it up to a score of nine, into a league all by itself at the top of the pile. The chest button, which secures the upper part of the jacket together with a small button, allows you to unzip the jacket all the way for venting purposes while not having it fall right off the front of your body. The zippered pockets are also lined with mesh that allow for greater venting.

The Windveil has two hand pockets that are lined on the inside with breathable mesh  adding both the versatility of pockets and another way to help vent heat and moisture. Also shown in this picture are the wrist cuffs  which are simple elastic.
The Windveil has two hand pockets that are lined on the inside with breathable mesh, adding both the versatility of pockets and another way to help vent heat and moisture. Also shown in this picture are the wrist cuffs, which are simple elastic.

The high chest button flap on the Windveil Jacker is designed so that you can vent by opening the entire front zipper  without then having the whole jacket flapping around or falling off while running or moving. We certainly appreciated this feature.
The high chest button flap on the Windveil Jacker is designed so that you can vent by opening the entire front zipper, without then having the whole jacket flapping around or falling off while running or moving. We certainly appreciated this feature.

Fit and Functionality


The fit of this jacket is nearly perfect, sleek and athletic enough that no bagginess is present and nothing gets in the way, while also just big enough to fit a warmth layer underneath should you need one. The stretchy fabric is quiet and moves great with your body. It has a whole lot of features, most of which work very well. The hood can be stowed by rolling it up and buckling it tight. The buckle works better than the systems on either the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Jacket or the Patagonia Alpine Houdini. Its wrist and hood enclosures are made of only elastic, with no ability to tighten them. While the face enclosure on the hood seals out the weather very well, the wrists are a bit loose. The two zippered hand pockets sit high enough to not interfere with a waist belt, which is really nice. Overall we gave this jacket eight out of 10 points for Fit and Functionality.

The hood on the Windveil can be stored away by rolling it up tight and fastening it with a small buckle and strap attached to the inside and outside of the neck. We really appreciate the ability to stow the hood when not in use so it doesn't annoyingly flap around in the wind while running  biking  climbing  or whatever.
The hood on the Windveil can be stored away by rolling it up tight and fastening it with a small buckle and strap attached to the inside and outside of the neck. We really appreciate the ability to stow the hood when not in use so it doesn't annoyingly flap around in the wind while running, biking, climbing, or whatever.

Water Resistance


The Pertex Microlight fiber that this jacket is made out of is naturally durable and water resistant, so no DWR coating needs to be applied, as is the case with other jackets. The effect of this fantastic material is that it causes water to bead up immediately and shed off with literally no absorption into the fabric. With no actual coating, there is nothing to wear off with time or abrasion, and Rab claims that this DWR quality will last for the entire life of the jacket. After our test period, we saw no degredation of the DWR properties whatsoever, something we could not say about other jackets we tested. While we rated it nine out of 10 points, the same as the Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie and the Patagonia Houdini, we suspect that it will hold up better over time than those two jackets. One of this jacket's very best features and qualities.

The Rab Windveil was one of the most water resistant wind breakers in our shower test. It is made of Pertex  which is woven to include DWR (durable water resistant) properties in the fabric itself  rather than needing a separate DWR coating applied. This means the DWR properties will last forever and can't wear off!
The Rab Windveil was one of the most water resistant wind breakers in our shower test. It is made of Pertex, which is woven to include DWR (durable water resistant) properties in the fabric itself, rather than needing a separate DWR coating applied. This means the DWR properties will last forever and can't wear off!

Weight and Packability


Our men's size large jacket weighed 5.3 ounces fresh out of the shipping box. This was a bit lighter than Rab claimed on their website, and good enough for seven points compared to the competition. While it was about two ounces heavier than the Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie, it also had features like pockets that others did not. We awarded one bonus point for packability. The entire jacket stuffs into an internal mesh pocket quite easily that is fastened with two small buttons, is quite small, and has a reinforced clip-in loop for attaching to harnesses. Our only concern is that the mesh stuff pocket seems vulnerable to catching and tearing against abrasive rock if it is stored on the back of the harness and you are chimneying your way up Epinephine at Red Rocks.

The ten wind breakers in this review stuffed into their pockets'  from left to right: Sierra Designs Exhale Windhirt (green) does not fit into a pocket  Marmot Ether DriClime Hoody (orange)  Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Pro (light orange)  Patagonia Alpine Houdini (navy)  Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Jacket (glossy black)  Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie (neon green) Patagonia Houdini (black)  Rab Windveil (white mesh)  Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody (brown)  Outdoor Research Tantrum (neon yellow).
The ten wind breakers in this review stuffed into their pockets', from left to right: Sierra Designs Exhale Windhirt (green) does not fit into a pocket, Marmot Ether DriClime Hoody (orange), Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Pro (light orange), Patagonia Alpine Houdini (navy), Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Jacket (glossy black), Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie (neon green) Patagonia Houdini (black), Rab Windveil (white mesh), Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody (brown), Outdoor Research Tantrum (neon yellow).

Best Applications


The Windveil Jacket is incredibly versatile and will be a great jacket for all sorts of different activities. Due to its superior water resistance, this jacket is far more versatile than many of its competitors. We think it is great for climbing and peak bagging, and also loved using it while trail running, hiking, and hanging out at music nights in the park. It would also be a good fit for backpacking due to its light nature and water resistance. It's hard to think of a situation where this jacket wouldn't work.

Wind breakers are quite possibly the most versatile layer of outdoor clothing ever invented! Here we are wearing the Rab Windveil during an evening mountain bike ride in the mountains. This jacket kept us from getting chilled  protected us from a cool breeze  and also breathed well enough to prevent excessive sweatiness.
Wind breakers are quite possibly the most versatile layer of outdoor clothing ever invented! Here we are wearing the Rab Windveil during an evening mountain bike ride in the mountains. This jacket kept us from getting chilled, protected us from a cool breeze, and also breathed well enough to prevent excessive sweatiness.

Value


The Windveil Jacket retails for $125. This puts it right about in the middle of what you can expect to pay for a jacket that we tested. It is neither the cheapest nor the most expensive. Because we think it is so versatile, and far and away the best wind breaker we tested, we understandably recommend this jacket as a great value.

A wind breaker is the perfect lightweight layer for more than half the year. The wind on this cloudy summer day left us wanting a little more than a t-shirt for our dog walk  and the Windveil Jacket was just the fit.
A wind breaker is the perfect lightweight layer for more than half the year. The wind on this cloudy summer day left us wanting a little more than a t-shirt for our dog walk, and the Windveil Jacket was just the fit.

Conclusion


The Windveil Jacket was the highest scoring jacket in our review and was easy to crown the Best Overall Wind Breaker. Its water resistance is what really sets it apart from the competition, although it is also the most breathable and vent-able, and fits fantastically well. The features it includes work better than those of other jackets, and everything is useful and nothing superfluous. There is nothing not to like about this wind breaker, and we wholeheartedly recommend it to friends and readers alike.

Our head tester wearing the Rab Windveil Jacket on the summit of Gladstone Peak  near Telluride in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Wind breakers are the perfect layer for summertime peak bagging and hiking.
Our head tester wearing the Rab Windveil Jacket on the summit of Gladstone Peak, near Telluride in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Wind breakers are the perfect layer for summertime peak bagging and hiking.
Andy Wellman

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: December 4, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
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2 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (1)
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   Dec 4, 2017 - 04:06pm
Evan Massaro · Kayaker · Napa Valley
The main zipper on mine [12/2017] is a women's LEFT zip! I've written the company to see what they say. I'm tempted to return it, but on the other hand [literally!] it can be seen as a good brain exercise to learn to zip up the jacket on the opposite side.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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